Wildlife Animal Ethics Committee (WAEC)

Page last updated: Tuesday, 26 March 2024 - 9:51am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

The care and use of animals in Western Australia are subject to provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 (the Act), which provides for the welfare, safety, and health of animals used for scientific purposes.

An important part of the Act is the requirement of institutions and environmental scientists using animals for scientific purposes to be licensed and to operate according to the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (the Code). This is to ensure the ethical and humane care and use of animals for scientific purposes.

Establishment of the WAEC

In February 2022, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) established a Wildlife Animal Ethics Committee (WAEC), which allows institutions and environmental scientists to operate in accordance with the conditions of their Scientific Use Licence.

Under the transitional arrangements for these institutions and environmental scientists, projects must be reviewed, and approval obtained from the WAEC by 31 July 2022. For more information, see the web link: Scientific Use Licences for environmental scientists - interim policy and FAQs.

The WAEC will determine whether the proposed use of animals is justified according to the principles of the Code. The WAEC is also responsible for monitoring the ongoing scientific use of animals in approved projects.

The Code requires that the membership of the WAEC must include veterinarians, scientists, animal welfare advocates and members of the community to ensure appropriate and representative assessment of scientific projects involving the use of animals. 

Standard operating procedures

The WAEC will use the Standard operating procedures (SOPs) from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) for fauna survey and monitoring activities to assist scientific establishments and environmental scientists in preparing their applications and to ensure projects follow AEC-endorsed guidelines. The SOPs are also used by the WAEC to efficiently assess proposed projects to ensure that activities involving fauna are undertaken to a consistent standard.

Forms and supporting documents

Contact us

If you have any questions about the WAEC, please contact us at wildlifeaec@dpird.wa.gov.au